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  1. #1
    Dept. store bike bandit
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    Another Denali lifetime report thread?

    I was inspired to join this forum after reading CigTech's threads on the Denali here on this forum. To be honest, I was a bit hesitant to join any bike forum after reading such harsh words about this bike, but it seems that for every negative report there's a positive one too. We'll see how this one turns out.

    First, a little background. Why the Denali?

    Well, without going into too much detail I've gotten a bit heavy. I'm trying to lose about 40-50 pounds. Tried both running and walking for exercise, couldn't stick with it. Went on a diet about two and a half weeks ago and lost about 12 pounds in the first week, then I hit a wall and realized I needed to exercise too. So I thought about biking.

    It's been a long time since I've really seriously ridden a bike. When I was a baby, I used to ride on the attached baby seat on my dad's Schwinn road bike that he got from Wal-Mart in the 80s. Later on, we both rode our Wal-Mart bought mountain bikes together until he suffered a serious stroke in 2005. I ended up getting a Micargi mountain bike and rode it for a while. (I don't know where those stand in quality but it was a lot more expensive than the Wal-Mart mountain bikes). When it worked, it was great...especially the gearing. But that was the problem, it was constantly in the shop because the shifters were horrible and never worked...finally when one completely seized I dumped it, and haven't really ridden since. So recalling past bikes, I went to Wal-Mart looking for a road bike since they'd worked well for us in the past.

    Found the GMC. Was waiting for help when a guy from a local bike shop (Golden's Bike Shop I believe) told me not to buy a road bike from Wal-Mart for pretty much the reasons a lot of you guys posted in the past Denali threads I have read, but to find a good used one. Okay, cool...left the store intending to do just that.

    Well somehow my dad caught word that I had been looking at the GMC Denali at Wal-Mart and he went out and bought me one. It was such a nice gesture that I wasn't about to turn it down...especially considering our past positive track record with Wally bikes.

    Well, they were out of display models so the bike came to me in a box. I put it together myself nice and tight, and fully adjusted the brakes and derailleurs. No loose parts or quality issues that I can immediately tell, but I don't have a background in more expensive road bikes either. Lubed the chain and gears with some *** oil and went for a ride.

    Immediately I was hooked. This thing is a LOT faster than the old mountain bikes I used to ride. Great gearing like my old Micargi too, except these worked. Solid, reliable shifting. I went out the next day and found some lights for it (since I ride daily at 5 am), a cycling computer, and a helmet. A new seat too which I'll address momentarily.

    A little disclaimer. I'm no racer...in fact I don't intend to ever be one. I ride for fun and for exercise. Also I'm a bit out of shape so it's very unlikely I'll be racking up nearly the miles CigTech did...at least not as quickly. I'm hoping to work my way up and go longer distances. Again, just for the fun of it...not for competition or training. Right now I do 5 mile daily rides and I'm hoping to try maybe a 12 mile ride this weekend, but we'll see. I'm pretty worn out after my five mile rides. But it's helping, as I've lost 3 more pounds so far this week! I'm a third of the way to my weight goal.

    So ultimately...yes I know this bike is no racer. I don't need for it to be. I just want something to ride for the fun of it and for exercise, and I think this bike will work great for that.

    Anyway, I've noticed in past threads some people discrediting CigTech by implying that he was somehow working for Kent with his reviews. I know there's no real way to convince anyone of this but I am not working for Kent and I'm not a troll. I'm just trying to share my experiences, positive or negative. Anything that happens, any problem I notice, I will report. Some of my reported problems may not be problems at all, because I am a bit new to bike mechanics, but I'll share them anyway. Hopefully some of the information I share will be beneficial to someone.

    That being said, I'm mechanically inclined (I work on my own cars a lot) so most of the bike maintenance (adjusting derailleurs, brakes) was extremely simple for me to catch onto. But if something bigger happens, I might need your help as I'm used to working on cars, not bikes!

    My plan is this: ride it in stock form until something breaks, at which point I will replace the broken part with an upgraded one and report here what happens, cost, etc. If I can fix it myself great...if not...oh well. My dad gave me this bike so for better or worse I will make it my own. A year from now I may have completely replaced everything...or nothing. We'll see.

    Sorry for the long winded story...I tend to ramble. Anyway, onto my findings on the bike. I've had it since...Monday or Tuesday I guess. Just a few days. I'm still doing minor adjustments to get it more comfortable. The odometer reads 4.9 miles but I've put on about 10 before that, but for the sake of simplicity I'll just report what's on the odometer from now on.

    Positives.

    I found the ride to be really nice. Quick, and good handling. Very easy to get up to speed and keep it there. I've come directly from heavy mountain bikes so I haven't found this bike's 29 pound weight to be any huge burden. This bike has really low gears so I've not come across a hill yet that I could not ascend, even with being out of shape.

    CigTech posted some stats, so here's mine so far. On the last ride I maxxed out at 24.5 mph on pretty level ground. I could have gone faster but I used the downhills to rest. My average speed was 10.7 mph. Ouch, I know. I'll get better.

    I like the way the bike looks. It's very attractive and doesn't immediately look cheap.

    I also like how everything on the bike is adjustable. The handlebars tilt and move up and down, the seat moves up and down, backwards and forwards, and tilts. This is new to me, but probably not to you guys.

    The pedals are metal and not plastic. This could be a positive for accidental scrapes.

    I've found with proper adjustment the gear changes are immediate and reliable. Curiously the gear changes aren't as smooth as they were when they weren't properly adjusted. I may need to look into that some more. Still not rough, but not completely silent either.

    Things I'm neutral on:

    The grip shifters. I read this is blasphemy on a road bike. It is a bit odd to switch hand positions to shift. however I come from mountain bikes so I'm used to this style of shift, very easy to become acquainted with. Location sucks, familiarity is a positive for me.

    The brake levers. Initially they seemed awkward to me, but now I've gotten used to them and can handle them better. I still feel like they'd be better somewhere else.

    The weight. Lighter would be nice I suppose, but I'm used to it so it doesn't bother me.

    Negatives:

    The seat it comes with SUCKS. It hurt my butt. I got a squishier seat with cutouts for man-parts and it's much better. My butt didn't hurt at all this morning. The original seat looks nice but that's about all that can be said for it.

    The brakes leave something to be desired. Properly adjusted they will stop the bike but not with the force that previous bikes I've owned could. For the sake of this test I'll leave them alone and just allow extra room like I have been so far.

    This isn't a strong negative but sometimes I feel like I need another gear when pushing the top speed. I think the gearset holds it back a little.

    That's pretty much all I have for now. I can't report on durability because I just got it, but so far my adjustments to the derailleurs and brakes are holding, no slippage. Only about 10 miles on them, though.

    As I said, I will report ANY issue I come across with this report, and here is my first, though I cannot find a mechanical cause for it. When pedaling, especially slowly, I hear/feel a light thump in my foot when the right side pedal reaches the top of it's travel. I've checked the bottom bracket for bearing play, the pedal itself and everything else connected and can find no cause. Everything is smooth and tight. Maybe it's the way I'm pedaling? I'm not worried about it if it isn't a mechanical problem, but it is somewhat annoying.

    Only other issue I've had is that on my first trip out, the chain slipped off the inside of the front gears when switching to the lowest set. An adjustment to the front derailleur fixed that problem.

    Anyway, there it is. My wordy report so far. We'll see how it holds up.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member sirtirithon's Avatar
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    Great review! Honest and informative. I have a friend who has been thinking about buying a Denali. Ill have to send him a link to this review. Thanks & keep up the riding!

  3. #3
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    I might as well be the first to say it... this thread is worthless without pics! And you're right... grip shifters are blasphemy on a road bike.

    Your suspected bottom bracket problem may only be apparent under load and disappear when checking by hand. In my experience BB problems get progressively worse and don't fail catastrophically, so your "wait until it breaks" approach should be fine.

    Congrats on the new ride!
    Gettin' my Fred on.

  4. #4
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    That was a great thing your father did and in your situation I would do my best to use the bike too even if it wasn't my first choice.

    There's a guy in my building who has a Denali and from an appearance standpoint they look a lot like other modern road bikes. I did notice that the brakes had the telltale signs of Walmart cheapness. I'm not surprised they don't work so well.

    The weight thing doesn't really matter that much for a commuter. I mean there's a lot of reasons why having a lighter bike is nice but it's not the end of the world if your road bike is tipping the scales at closer to 30 than to 20.

    As you know the shifter arrangement on the Denali is um... unique. That's where they saved a lot of the cost over a typical road bike. Most modern road bikes have integrated shift and brake levers which can be used either from the "hoods" position or the "drops". What Walmart did is clever but it's not quite as good. The other downside is that you're pretty much stuck with those particular handlebars. For example, I couldn't adjust the stock bars on my road bike so that I was both comfortable in the drops and on the hoods. However, I was able to get some bars that fit me and the way I ride better. That's not an option on the Denali unless you wanted flat bars.

    Anyway, good luck with the bike and the weight loss process. It sounds like both are working out well for you.

  5. #5
    Dept. store bike bandit
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    Thanks for the positive comments! Pictures will come tomorrow when it's light out.

    Unfortunate to hear that it's likely the bottom bracket making that light thump, but it makes sense as it does happen most often while pedaling in low gear. I'll let it ride for now until the pedal becomes wobbly, and then replace it. Should only be out $40 for tools and parts. I bet I can use my axle grease for my truck on the new bearing. If it works for the wheel bearings on my truck, it ought to work on these too. And replacing this bearing is a LOT simpler than replacing the wheel bearings on the truck, so nice. With the right tools I could do it in 15 minutes I bet.

    By the way, do local bike shops usually carry crank and bottom bracket removal tools? I'd just as well ride up there on my Denali and buy the tools myself, rather than have them shipped to my house.

    So, chalk that up for one against the Denali...assuming of course it fails. But I think the bottom bracket could very well be suspect.

    Earlier today I spent a few hours (yup, hours) trying to clean up the remaining issues with the derailleurs. Pretty much had everything apart at one point. To start with, the gear shifts were a little rough (but accurate) and the front derailleur had chain rub in 3-7 and in 2-1. This was with the derailleurs in their original orientations from the factory, just tension and set screw adjustments. Moved things around a bit, and adjusted tensions and screws, now it's smooth shifting again and only has a little chain rub in 2-1. Guess it's something I'll have to get used to.

    I think so far my biggest impression of this bike (other than it's enjoyable rideability) is that it is best left for the mechanically inclined, or to a bike shop for setup. But it would really be best if you work on it yourself, I think. It holds it's adjustments but I seem to be constantly messing with it, I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to mechanical things. As I mentioned I had to pretty much take both derailleurs apart to get them working as close to perfect as I think they can get, most novice riders won't do that. I'm not even sure most bike shops would do that.

    About the handlebars, if I were to change shifter style would I be able to get new handlebars then? I'm okay with both for now, but always good to know for the future.

    Tomorrow I'm going to try a new 6 mile route and see how it goes. Much bigger hills but I'm going to see just how fast I can get the Denali to go with my out of shape self. Maybe I can crack 30 like CigTech?
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  6. #6
    This bike is cat approved monsterpile's Avatar
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    Great write up about your journey and the bike. Keep it up.

    For your shifting problem my advice from personal experience is you should not be perfectionistic about getting this bike to shift to all gears. Lower end bikes with a triple often are hard to get working just right through all the gears. Sometimes I think Gripshifters make it even more difficult. The worst case scenario is get an old set of friction stem shifters and you can do whatever you want with the bars as well. Just keep getting get out and ride and don't let some of the issues get in the way of your fun. Your LBS should have all the tools you need for replacing bears on your botton bracket. You might want to try taking it apart nd greasing it up and see if that takes care of the problem you mentioned.
    My SUV is a bicycle

  7. #7
    Senior Member SouthFLpix's Avatar
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    I've seen these bikes on Amazon before and have been sort of fascinated with them. They typically get glowing reviews, and I have found Amazon reviews to be fairly accurate for me in the past. There is also a guy that reviews them on youtube and he's been very enthusiastic about it and he's put about 3000 miles into his.

    I personally wouldn't worry about grip shifters on a bike in this price range. Heck, just a set of STI shifters can cost more then the entire bike, so it wouldn't really make sense to think about switching. I've gotten pretty used to grip shifters on my hybrid to the point where I actually like them. Actually my ideal touring bike would be a Rohloff equipped drop bar bike with the 14 speed Rohloff grip shift.

    Looking forward to seeing you post pictures of your ride.

  8. #8
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Your local shop will probably sell the tools you need to take the crank apart. Definitely take the bike in, because one of the oddities of the Denali (and Wal-Mart bikes in general) is that the parts aren't always standard, and with cranks and bottom brackets there are several possibilities.

    The bonus with your shifting adjustments is that after the experience you're gaining getting that bike to shift well, you'll be able to tune a higher quality shifter/derailleur pair in your sleep whenever you decide to upgrade.

  9. #9
    Dept. store bike bandit
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    Great advice on trying to repack the original bottom bracket first, I rode up to the bike shop today to get a crank puller. Glad I did cause it turns out I don't even need the special socket for the bottom bracket like I thought I would, the guy at the counter told me it was the old style and all I needed to remove the bottom bracket was an adjustable wrench and maybe a screwdriver and a hammer to remove the lock ring. Glad I went there instead of ordered.

    Anyway, on the ride today I noticed my adjustments were a bit off. Not BAD off, I just need to set my limiter screws differently as if I went crazy with the shifter it would sometimes jump off. Every gear engaged properly otherwise, and minimal rubbing. Very true about learning the shifter adjustments, one day when I do upgrade it could probably be a pretty decent setup, aside from the weight.

    Unfortunately, that was the ONLY ride I got today...somehow I turned my alarm off in the middle of the night, I don't even remember doing it. No 5 am ride, and no top speed report. On the way home I was limited to the second gear set because I was holding the tool (no innuendo intended) in my left hand while riding. But I topped out at 24.4 mph in 2-7 on level ground. I bet I could easily top 30 in 3-7 with the same effort, so CigTech's top speed reports seem pretty accurate.

    On my ride I went down some pretty bumpy roads pretty quickly that I felt were a good test of how well the wheels would stay in true and everything would hold together. Rough old concrete roads with huge seams, downhill too. It handled it very well, better than some cars I've been in...literally. Felt well planted. Wheels were still true when I got home. I did notice last night that one of the tires was very slightly out of round. I don't expect they are very expensive tires, but they have held up fine so far.

    So only about a 2.5 mile ride today, to the bike shop and back. Better than nothing I suppose.

    Here are the pics!







    If nothing else, it sure is a nice looking bike. The popping is still present and it's more annoying than ever. Not that it's gotten any worse I don't think, but it's kinda like a drip in the faucet while you're trying to sleep...the longer you hear it, the more annoying it is. I'm going to tear down the bottom bracket here in a bit and shove some wheel bearing grease in it. That's the great thing about my previous auto wrenching experiences, a lot of the tools and fluids I use for my cars I can use for my bike also.

    By the way, I saw that guy on youtube with his Denali. His review was one of the things that got me interested in it in the first place. I'd be pretty happy if mine saw that many miles with as few of problems. I'm sure it can get to that many miles and beyond quite easily, but how much I'll have to replace is the question that only time will answer.
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    Last edited by borobike; 05-20-11 at 12:41 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Looks like a nice bike. What a great present, huh? Apart from having a road bike, it sounds like you're also picking up some knowledge and wrenching experience (with bikes, anyway).

    You might want to think about replacing the tires. Sooner or later, they'll wear through and you'll have to. But the ones you have now are slowing you down while you're on the road. If most of your riding is on the road, a pair of good slicks will help a little to make up for gearing and weight issues.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  11. #11
    Dept. store bike bandit
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    I agree. Once these wear down I'm getting some new tires for sure. I have read these bikes will take 700x23c tires. The ones on there are 700x32c. I'll keep them on there for now for the purpose of testing but I will eventually get some nice 23c tires for better speed and less rolling resistance.

    Okay, so I delved into the bottom bracket. I have to say I love working on bikes. It's just so simple!

    Repair @ 7.5 miles

    I'm going to bold anything I consider to be beyond normal maintenance with this bike. I consider what I did today with the bottom bracket to be beyond that. My thoughts:

    I found plentiful grease on both the bearings within the bottom bracket, and on the threads. I found the unit as a whole to be serviceable and visually durable enough to last. That doesn't say they will, they just appear to be good enough. HOWEVER, I did find metal shavings within the threads and shaft of the bottom bracket (though none on the bearings), which extremely concerned me. I don't personally think it would have affected the operation of the bearings but I like anything around greased bearings to be clean of anything especially metal shavings. That is why I'm listing this as something beyond normal maintenance and something that SHOULD be done on these bikes to prevent problems.

    I repacked the bearings like I would the wheel bearing on a car, that is to say I coated every bearing surface and race with lots and lots of wheel bearing grease. It was smooth before but now it just glides. Very nice. I don't know if it's fixed my "thump" yet, we'll see.

    Also turned a couple of screws to keep my chain from over-travelling during shifts. Perfect shifts now.
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  12. #12
    This bike is cat approved monsterpile's Avatar
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    I think the low gearing thats on that bike is a good match for the wider 32 tires. Basically that bike in my mind is made for the beginner commuter that wants a drop bar bike. Its not going to be fast, but thats fine. There are advantages to wider tires and they certainly will smooth out the ride. It sounds like you are having a good time with the bike both riding and working on it.
    My SUV is a bicycle

  13. #13
    Dept. store bike bandit
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    Maybe so, this is all for the future anyway.

    I made the 6 mile ride today, and the bike hit 37.1 mph! That's not the fastest thing around I'm sure, but it's a lot faster than I've ever been on a bike.

    The popping is still present, but it's become subdued and intermittent. That tells me that the bottom bracket is to blame, but my service helped. Not sure if I'm going to wait until it poops out or go ahead and fix it.

    Front derailleur needs to be adjusted again, other than that all is well. Shifts nice in the back.

    I won't be updating every day since I don't put nearly the mileage on that CigTech did, but I'll drop in every week or so or to report if something breaks.
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    I ride two different department store bikes of doom. Neither have exploded or caused small children to cry yet.

    198? Free Spirit Sovereign 12 speed road bike (Sears) - the smooth and comfy one. The commuter/hauler/touring bike.
    2011 GMC Denali 14 speed road bike (Wal-Mart) - the fast frankenbike. The racer.



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  14. #14
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    borobike, I don't think you'll be disappointed. I've had mine 2 years, about 11000 miles and no serious issues.

    I had to take the DR's off first thing and position by eyeball and instinct to get them right but it sounds like you've already been through that. Since then the front shifter is stiff and falling apart, cables need replacing and I wore out the freewheel. That's about it for repairs.

    If and when you change out the crankset please write it up. It's been on my agenda since that 28X38X48 seems limiting - I can't spin the pedals any faster than 38 mph downhill. The main reason I haven't yet is that I'm limited at about the same point, the 48-12 is all I can push anyway at a decent cadence. But I want to change it.

  15. #15
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    borobike, I don't think you'll be disappointed. I've had mine 2 years, about 11000 miles and no serious issues.

    I had to take the DR's off first thing and position by eyeball and instinct to get them right but it sounds like you've already been through that. Since then the front shifter is stiff and falling apart, cables need replacing and I wore out the freewheel. That's about it for repairs.

    If and when you change out the crankset please write it up. It's been on my agenda since that 28X38X48 seems limiting - I can't spin the pedals any faster than 38 mph downhill. The main reason I haven't yet is that I'm limited at about the same point, the 48-12 is all I can push anyway at a decent cadence. But I want to change it.
    For a commuter, I think this complaint is overplayed. I know we all like going fast at times, but if you're riding by yourself does it really matter? I ride a 1x10 setup on my commuter with a 48 up front and haven't really missed the larger gear. 48 12-26 gives me all the gears I need. I would rather lose the top end than have to shift a front ring. I suppose that's not really a concern for someone who has chosen to ride a triple.

  16. #16
    Senior Member
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    The generic road bike in my sig is a GMC with some parts the LBS put on it. I didn't think anyone paid enough attention to those to list it in my sig haha. Mine is the older 16 speed one with normal road bike gearing, non "aero" wheels, & the STI style shifters. The bottom bracket does that on mine as well. I plan on replacing mine soon and it seems to use a standard 68mm bottom bracket. The frame seems pretty good and I bought it mostly so I can build it up while having something to ride.

    It is a good bike for 90% of the cycling most people do around town. I put around 20-25 miles on it per week and no failures yet.
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    The best part: The frame was $55 from Nashbar - the seat post was $70 from my LBS :-D.

  17. #17
    Dept. store bike bandit
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    Good to hear that there's others with these bikes and no serious issues. If I do change out the crankset I'll be sure to write it up. I'm thinking about just going for one with two different ratios instead of 3. Now that I'm getting stronger I find that I rarely use the 1st set, if I get to that point it's time to pull over and take a water break. Would make adjustments easier as well, I would think. But that's all in the future, I'll stick with the stock set for now.

    I wasn't going to update this for a while, but I found a few new things I'd like to report.

    A huge milestone for me today was that I completed a 12 mile ride. No big deal to most, but my 6 mile ride on Saturday about killed me. Today I made the standard 5 mile route and then just kept going, including tackling Saturday's hill of death that almost killed me. I took yesterday off and I think the rest made me stronger. The bike was a great companion the whole time, I didn't feel like it was holding me back, quite the opposite. I never would have been able to do this ride on my old mountain bikes. My average speed has increased also to about 12 mph. I can't get an exact reading on that because I don't know how to reset my average speed without reseting the whole computer. I'll have to read the manual.

    I found that the Denali can handle 90 degree turns (as in turning at an intersection) at 30 mph. I dunno how this ranks in most road bikes, but it felt stable and just plain awesome through the turn, of course I leaned well into it.

    By the end of my ride I don't know if it went away or I just stopped noticing it, but I don't remember hearing/feeling the popping from the bottom bracket. I'll check later.

    All in all a great amount of fun. By the end of the ride of course I was well winded and just wanted to get home, but before that I was really enjoying myself. Can't wait for the point where I can ride further and further and not get so tired.

    I saw someone else on a Denali like mine the other day. Guy was pedaling uphill slowly in high gear and looked like he was really struggling. I don't know if he was doing that on purpose or if something was jammed. I was in the truck so I didn't ask.

    Also, I have to echo what CigTech has said in his other threads. A friend saw my new bike and couldn't believe it only cost $159. He's no bike expert, but he thought road bikes cost more than that, and generally they do. It looks expensive even though it isn't. Not that I'm worried about that, but it doesn't scream cheap.

    So far I feel like the Denali is a very nice entry into the road biking world. Bang for buck over a used bike is debatable, but if you like new this is it. I do enjoy knowing things from the start and keeping them my way, as well as not having to worry about other people's mistreatment or neglect. I store my bike inside to keep it clean and non-rusty. I live in a college town and I've noticed that many bike owners don't (lock them to the rails of their apartment or such) so many used bikes have rust or other weathering issues.

    However I do feel in some ways they cheaped out. Two things so far I'm not satisfied with are the bottom bracket and the brakes. Everything else gets an approval stamp as being serviceable and should last a while if maintained properly.

    Speaking of the brakes, I feel they have become a safety issue and need to be replaced. I've found that not every driver is as respectful of those on bikes as I'd like for them to be (and our city is renowned for being bicycle friendly!). So far I've been run off the road by a semi, had to slam on my brakes multiple times to avoid t-boning somebody pulling out directly in my path, as well as having to dodge people backing out of their driveways and not looking. The stock brakes are really bad, they barely stop the bike and trying to slow down while going downhill can be pretty scary. So I ordered some new brake pads for it after reading around here a bit, Kool-Stop Eagle II in salmon out back and Kool-Stop Continental in salmon up front. I don't think the Eagle II's would clear my forks up front. Heard good things about these pads, we'll see how they perform.

    So far, I've found three things that need to be replaced or at least carefully monitored on this bike: the seat, the bottom bracket, and the brakes. Brakes are a must for safety I feel, and the seat was just too uncomfortable for me but may be okay for others. The bottom bracket may just be a random defect on mine, if the problem is still present.
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    Last edited by borobike; 05-23-11 at 07:06 AM.
    I ride two different department store bikes of doom. Neither have exploded or caused small children to cry yet.

    198? Free Spirit Sovereign 12 speed road bike (Sears) - the smooth and comfy one. The commuter/hauler/touring bike.
    2011 GMC Denali 14 speed road bike (Wal-Mart) - the fast frankenbike. The racer.



    http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt...rzg/weight.png

  18. #18
    Dept. store bike bandit
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    Sorry to bump this again, but I have more info.

    Last night I tightened the retaining ring on the bottom bracket a bit. I'm not sure if that did it or if it worked it's own way out but the popping is gone, completely. Didn't hear/feel it once during my 9 mile ride today. So disregard my comments about the bottom bracket as it seems to be a non-issue. I've read in places that bottom brackets can sometimes pop or click when they are new, perhaps that's what's happened here. So overall 0 mechanical issues to date.

    Finally got everything adjusted perfectly, and by that I mean the front derailleur which I have been struggling with for a while. Finally found a great guide that does it right and now it just shifts beautifully front and back. Shifts are almost imperceptible both in the auditory and tactile senses. Not much chain rub either, just a little in 3-1 which is to be expected. It really is a pretty sweet riding bike now that everything is worked out. I only wish I had more endurance to take it further off the direct route but that will come later.

    Also getting a 1200 lumen forward lighting system. Well, I call it a system but it's just a nice flashlight + a mount. I have found that I really like taking the dark country roads and my $20 Wal-Mart Schwinn halogen lamp is marginal at best to see or be seen. I'll keep it as auxiliary lighting.

    Anyway, I'll stay out of this thread until the end of the week or until something else important happens. 36 miles on the odometer now.
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    I ride two different department store bikes of doom. Neither have exploded or caused small children to cry yet.

    198? Free Spirit Sovereign 12 speed road bike (Sears) - the smooth and comfy one. The commuter/hauler/touring bike.
    2011 GMC Denali 14 speed road bike (Wal-Mart) - the fast frankenbike. The racer.



    http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt...rzg/weight.png

  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    Glad to hear it's working for you. I went ahead and ordered a a Shimano UN54 bottom bracket for mine. I'll post here how that goes.
    My Bikes:
    2012 GT Tachyon 3.0 w/ Carbon Fork
    --------------
    Custom Mongoose Teocali Comp - Runs like a dream -
    SR Suntour Epicon Fork Set to 140mm - Monarch 2.1 Rear Shock
    WTB Speed V on Thompson Seatpost, Crane Creek ZS3, Giant peddles, Stem, & Handle Bar
    Alivo Crank, SLX FD, PG870 Cassette, X4 Shifters/RD, Shimano M485 Hydraulic Breaks, Sun Rim Rhyno Lite Rims w/ Deore Hubs

    The best part: The frame was $55 from Nashbar - the seat post was $70 from my LBS :-D.

  20. #20
    Dept. store bike bandit
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    Thanks, please do. I ended up ordering a UN54 too because the popping is back. If you don't mind, post which socket you use to get the new bottom bracket in, I'm not sure which one fits the UN54.
    .
    .
    .
    I ride two different department store bikes of doom. Neither have exploded or caused small children to cry yet.

    198? Free Spirit Sovereign 12 speed road bike (Sears) - the smooth and comfy one. The commuter/hauler/touring bike.
    2011 GMC Denali 14 speed road bike (Wal-Mart) - the fast frankenbike. The racer.



    http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt...rzg/weight.png

  21. #21
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    A new UN54 is pretty cheap but you do need a crank puller and BB-Tool. This is the kind of stuff that makes me hesitate recommending a Walmart bike. It's not a big deal if you know what to do but it's interesting that you're not going to take advantage of the warranty. I mean I wouldn't either, -mostly because I wouldn't trust that Walmart could really fix it. I think they'd just tell me to pick out a different bike, - which may or may not have the same issue.

    Then I have to go through the whole process of readjusting everything again and re-install any accessories I had put on it.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    It's a fun project if you like getting your hands dirty. I also do most of the maintenance on my car that doesn't require pulling apart the motor. Also in my case I don't have to buy any tools because there are 5 bike co-ops in my area. They take appointments, have a suggested donation of $5, and have staff there to help.

    Boro, you should check for that as well. Also there probably is a point to just taking up Walmart on the warrantee if you can; though I have a feeling its just what the bottom bracket on these bikes just do it. In my case it's getting some play so its time to replace it. If my bike was still under the LBS' warrantee I'd have them take a look at it.
    My Bikes:
    2012 GT Tachyon 3.0 w/ Carbon Fork
    --------------
    Custom Mongoose Teocali Comp - Runs like a dream -
    SR Suntour Epicon Fork Set to 140mm - Monarch 2.1 Rear Shock
    WTB Speed V on Thompson Seatpost, Crane Creek ZS3, Giant peddles, Stem, & Handle Bar
    Alivo Crank, SLX FD, PG870 Cassette, X4 Shifters/RD, Shimano M485 Hydraulic Breaks, Sun Rim Rhyno Lite Rims w/ Deore Hubs

    The best part: The frame was $55 from Nashbar - the seat post was $70 from my LBS :-D.

  23. #23
    Dept. store bike bandit
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
    I mean I wouldn't either, -mostly because I wouldn't trust that Walmart could really fix it. I think they'd just tell me to pick out a different bike, - which may or may not have the same issue.

    Then I have to go through the whole process of readjusting everything again and re-install any accessories I had put on it.
    Yeah, this is pretty much exactly why I'm not taking Wal-Mart up on the warranty. Aside from the bottom bracket, everything on this bike is straight and works well. Not sure I'd want to risk another, and I'm almost positive all they'd do is refund or exchange.

    I share your hesitation about recommending Wal-Mart bikes. I really like the way this bike rides, 100%...but there could be underlying problems...

    So far the seat, the brakes, and the bottom bracket I found needed to be replaced. I just got my rear Kool-Stop Eagle II Salmon pads and they seem to work really well. Got my new headlight too but the mounting bracket is still on the way.

    Max, I'll look into seeing if there is a local co-op here too. I don't know of one but I'm new to the biking world. If there isn't, it's all good as I already have a crank puller anyway so all I'd need is the socket. Probably a good thing to have around anyway.
    .
    .
    .
    I ride two different department store bikes of doom. Neither have exploded or caused small children to cry yet.

    198? Free Spirit Sovereign 12 speed road bike (Sears) - the smooth and comfy one. The commuter/hauler/touring bike.
    2011 GMC Denali 14 speed road bike (Wal-Mart) - the fast frankenbike. The racer.



    http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt...rzg/weight.png

  24. #24
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    I think this is the tool you'll need to install the UN54:

    http://www.parktool.com/product/bott...et-tool-bbt-22

  25. #25
    Dept. store bike bandit
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    Awesome, thanks. I'll ride up to the bike shop and pick one up on a non-stormy day.
    .
    .
    .
    I ride two different department store bikes of doom. Neither have exploded or caused small children to cry yet.

    198? Free Spirit Sovereign 12 speed road bike (Sears) - the smooth and comfy one. The commuter/hauler/touring bike.
    2011 GMC Denali 14 speed road bike (Wal-Mart) - the fast frankenbike. The racer.



    http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt...rzg/weight.png

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